After typing 60-300 wpm since I was 10 (and playing the piano since I was 2 and the violin since I was 6), I have a pretty good case of RSI (repetitive stress injury), known previously as carpal tunnel syndrome. To alleviate the injury, I bought Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS) 6 in 2001 but wasn’t really happy with it. That’s because I didn’t give it a chance. In 2003, when 7.0 came out, I gave it another chance and am glad I did.
I am currently using 12.5 on three computers and have it trained for my normal voice (still has a little South Texas twang to it, even after 21 years in San Diego), my margarita voice (a South Texas twang with some slurring together of words), and my I-have-a-cold voice, which also includes laryngitis.
My home inspection report is a one-of-a-kind report because I created it in Word, which tells you that DNS has no problems with Word. Other applications that I use many times daily with DNS include AOL, Word, Excel, Photoshop, Bridge, Corel Draw, PaintShop Pro, Audacity (music recording and editing), WordPress blogs and web sites (russelrayphotos2.com, russelray.com, missionvalleyliving.com), Sandicor (San Diego MLS), chess.com, gameknot.com (chess), Ugly Hedgehog (photography message board)…
In other words, there is nothing that DNS can’t handle, so don’t be afraid to use it with HIP, InspectVue, HomeGauge, or any others.
Straight out of the box DNS 12.5 is about 95% accurate with my normal voice. DNS claims 99% accuracy out of the box, and I think it might actually hit that rate if you slow down (I talk fast) and don’t have a Southern drawl.
After five minutes of training DNS, I think the accuracy was probably about 98%. The other 2% is technical jargon related to my photography, home inspections, and real estate. For example, I had to teach it that TPR is not “tea pea are.”
DNS learns, though, so each time it asks you what you are saying, take the time to tell it.
As with anything (like starting up a home inspection business), time taken at the front end to do things properly will save immense amounts of time in perpetuity, allowing you to do more things and make more money.
Buy a version with a headset. It looks and feels like a cheap headset, but it is by far the best for its noise canceling. I use DNS with the DNS headset while listening to my vast music collection (over 500,000 digital files and counting) and I have no problem with the music interfering unless I put on The Beatles and start singing…LOL
The only other headset I’ve found that can match the DNS headset is a gaming headset that my new employee has. He’s 16, and this is his first job, so he’s learning from me, and since he’s from this new tech generation, I’m learning from him, too. His gaming headset cost him a cool $449 but it does work extremely well, allowing him to use DNS (he had it trained for his voice after just eight hours spread out over three days) and listen concurrently to that stuff he calls music (although I have discovered that I like Radiohead).
If you find any errors in my posts, they are not DNS errors. They are what I call “habit errors.” Ergo, it is hard to break the typing habit, so when I’m proofreading something, I might decide to make a quick change using the keyboard. In the process of doing that, I’ll mess something up because my poor fingers just can’t type anymore.
#1 TIP - In the beginning, take the time to help DNS understand you, your speech idiosyncracies, and your industry jargon, and you’ll be much happier. It really doesn’t take a lot of time to train it, but I can guarantee you that when it needs help will be the exact moment when you don’t have the time so you’ll skip it “this time.” That means that you’ll have the same problem next time, and you’ll skip it then, too, at which point you’ll start to think that DNS isn’t worth it. It is. As I said earlier, take the time in the beginning, 30 days or less of constant use, and you’ll save gobs of time for the rest of your life since computers aren’t going away.